The New York Times bestselling author of Tell Me Three Things and What to Say Next delivers a poignant and hopeful novel about resilience and reinvention, first love and lifelong friendship, the legacies of loss, and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive.
"A luminous, lovely story about a girl who builds a future from the ashes of her past." --KATHLEEN GLASGOW, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces
Sometimes looking to the past helps you find your future.
Abbi Hope Goldstein is like every other teenager, with a few smallish exceptions: her famous alter ego, Baby Hope, is the subject of internet memes, she has asthma, and sometimes people spontaneously burst into tears when they recognize her. Abbi has lived almost her entire life in the shadow of the terrorist attacks of September 11. On that fateful day, she was captured in what became an iconic photograph: in the picture, Abbi (aka "Baby Hope") wears a birthday crown and grasps a red balloon; just behind her, the South Tower of the World Trade Center is collapsing.
Now, fifteen years later, Abbi is desperate for anonymity and decides to spend the summer before her seventeenth birthday incognito as a counselor at Knights Day Camp two towns away. She's psyched for eight weeks in the company of four-year-olds, none of whom have ever heard of Baby Hope.
Too bad Noah Stern, whose own world was irrevocably shattered on that terrible day, has a similar summer plan. Noah believes his meeting Baby Hope is fate. Abbi is sure it's a disaster. Soon, though, the two team up to ask difficult questions about the history behind the Baby Hope photo. But is either of them ready to hear the answers?
In this novel, Buxbaum (Tell Me Three Things) offers up an emotionally resonant, wryly humorous portrayal of two young adults navigating trauma and acceptance years after 9/11.Nearly 17-year-old Abbi Hope Goldstein is eager to spend the summer as an anonymous camp counselor instead of as Baby Hope, the famous toddler turned cultural artifact who was photographed being carried to safety as the first tower fell on Sept. 11, 2001 (her first birthday). She also intends to enjoy a carefree eight weeks before telling her parents about an increasingly worrying cough that she suspects is 9/11 syndrome complications from breathing the toxins at ground zero. Immediately recognized by fellow counselor and budding comedian Noah Stern, Abbi reluctantly agrees to help interview other figures in the Baby Hope photograph, unaware that Noah has a hidden personal motivation. Told in alternating perspectives between the two teens, the novel sensitively depicts how definitively 9/11 split countless lives into before and after. Directly affected by the events but too young to remember them, Abbi and Noah provide distinctive points of view with which teen readers, for whom 9/11 is history, will identify. Ages 12 up.
Not My Favorite Julie Buxbaum
I was going to give this two stars because it's very slow moving and awkward in the beginning. Also, Abbi often sounds like an adult, even though she's only sixteen. An adult, not in word choice, but in life experience. There are things she says that do not seem to sixteen, but seem to be like an adult looking back on sixteen, the way I look back on sixteen. Honestly, the beginning is very boring and depressing.
It doesn't really get good until about the climax, which is an awful thing to say about a book. From then on, it was fine. Not my favorite book, but definitely worthy of three stars. So I've given it the benefit of the doubt on the star count.
Needless to say, this is not my favorite Julie Buxbaum novel.
However, I still love Noah. He's cute, funny and sweet. I love that he has his own thing going on, his own secrets. He's a great character, as is his bff. Gotta love Jack.